Chef Frankie Cox on what makes these fluffy buns so delicious, year after year—and how her Australian kind differ from the American ones.

By Elyse Inamine
Updated May 24, 2017
© Two Hands

You don’t really need another reason to go to Two Hands in Tribeca. There's the breezy open space, all the pretty people inside and, of course, that stellar avocado toast that will melt the heart of any anti-trend curmudgeon. But chef and Aussie native Frankie Cox can’t help herself when it comes to this time of the year.

It’s not Easter without giving the people soft, fruit-studded hot cross buns, and she’s debuting them for the first time in New York City this weekend.

“I had my first hot cross bun at 20 months old,” she says. “I think I fell in love with the smell of them first. The sweet spices permeate the whole house, and everyone flocks to the kitchen to lather butter onto the hot buns and enjoy with a cup of tea.”

Starting today, she’s baking three dozen every day throughout the weekend ($3 each) and serving just like she did at home, with a pat of warmed salted butter. They’re a different variety than the American kind—and a welcoming sweet for any homesick Aussie.

“The hot cross buns here aren’t quite like home,”says Cox. “In Australia, the traditional cross is made with flour, whereas here it is like cake icing, and the selection of dried fruit isn’t as vast.”

She’s changing all that with her batch: sourcing dried apricots and cranberries from New York organic produce company Ace Natural, sprinkling warming spices (allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg) into the gluten-free flour dough and criss-crossing a flour-based glaze.

It all took a lot of R&D—“But they’re so light and fluffy. They leave you wanting more!” she says—for such a short ride, but for Cox it’s worth it.

“The first bite is always so nostalgic,” she says. “You can’t help but smile.”